Following a couple of weeks of goalscoring excitement, normal service was resumed by Blues in a game with no goals and limited action.
With Robbie Savage returning from suspension, Steve Bruce was left with a selection dilemma. Obviously Savage is always going to be first choice in midfield, as Damien Johnson will always be preferred on the right-hand side - and both justifiably so. Given the form of Stan Lazaridis and Bryan Hughes lately too, it seemed that the only choice Bruce had was to drop the ever-reliable Stephen Clemence, and that's exactly what the Blues boss did.
Given the length of my last two reports which covered a total of thirteen goals, at least I can get an early night tonight...
Blues surprisingly started very brightly, with some crisp passing and good link-up play in the final third of the pitch. This lively opening saw Savage hit the crossbar and Clinton Morrison hit the top tier of the stand behind the goal. Given Blues' knack of starting games poorly and then growing into them, the opening ten minutes were very promising.
However, balls began to be pumped forward high and early, and the retention of possession became harder and harder. All afternoon the Blues back four were able to pick out Zat Knight, the tallest defender in the Premiership, superbly with balls from the back. Fulham edged their way back into the game, and Blues were indebted to some fine saves from Maik Taylor. The former Fulham 'keeper saved magnificently at point blank range from Barry Hayles, before completing an excellent double save, denying both Luis Boa Morte and Martin Djetou.
Blues were forced into a change during the first half, when Martin Grainger failed to shake off the effects of an early bang on the head, so just prior to half-time, Clemence did get in on the action, with Hughes switching to the left and Lazaridis dropping to left-back.
The second half was about as eventful as, well, something really uneventful. With Lazaridis forced into defensive duties, and David Dunn still absent, Blues lacked the spark and creativity that could have won them the game against a disappointing Fulham side. Morrison and Mikael Forssell toiled up front, but stuggled for any real service, and a few half chances in the last five minutes excepted, Blues didn't really look like scoring. At the other end Fulham didn't either, so I suppose 0-0 was a just result. One other thing to note was Jamie Clapham's return to action following a couple of months out as a late substitute.
Drab games like this always have their uses when analysing them afterwards. The fact is that Blues went away, in the Premiership, to a top ten side (who have won at Old Trafford and drawn at Highbury this season, and drawn at home to Manchester United) and came away with a point. Another fact is that Blues fans on the way out, whilst content, were discussing that the game was there for the taking. Those two facts speak for themselves when looking at how far the club have come, and how far expectations have risen. At the end of the day, it was a pretty decent result.